This frame, distributed by Getty Images, was pulled from the gruesome YouTube video of the woman reportedly killed by the Basij at a Tehran protest rally on Saturday.
Of course, the way her eyes happen to focus in the direction of the camera after being hit — as if she’s still sentient — is what makes the image so powerful. That, and her name (Neda, which I’ve seen translated as “the voice” or “the “calling”) makes for the most potent image of the standoff so far.
Roger Cohen writes eloquently about the role of women on the front line of the people’s resistance. The fact that a woman, shot through the heart, was martyred this way seems to shatter the possibility of reconciliation. In her gaze, she can be seen to demand accountability and an accounting. And then, if there is an afterlife, she bears witness to the suppression of the Iranian people from “the other side.”
(image: creator unidentified. AFP/Getty Images from YouTube. caption: A screen grab taken on June 21, 2009 from a video posted on YouTube allegedly shows Iranian men trying to help a wounded woman named “Neda” after getting shot in the chest during a protest in Tehran on June 20, 2009. At least 10 people were killed in the latest unrest to shake Tehran, state television said on June 21, as the opposition stepped up its defiance of Iran’s Islamic rulers over the disputed election)